The main ten people will be tried in the criminal court in Paris from Monday March 22 for the deterioration of the Arc de Triomphe that occurred during a day of demonstration of the yellow vests on December 1, 2018. However, the main officials were never found to be.
These scenes of unrest at the foot of one of the most important French monuments had shaped the population. More than two years later, ten people will be tried starting Monday in Paris for looting the Arc de Triomphe during a “yellow vests” demonstration, but not the main culprit, who has never been found.
On December 1, 2018, the third act of the “yellow vests” will take place. Act 2 had led to overflows two weeks earlier. But nothing compared to this Saturday when the police were surprised by the violence that set the streets of the capital ablaze in the morning.
Protesters chant La Marseillaise around the flame of the unknown soldier, while others pick up cobblestones on Place de l’Étoile, which are used as ammunition against the police. Demonstrators manage to break into the historic monument, search the premises, loot the souvenir shop, get upstairs to photograph themselves over Paris with a yellow vest on their backs.
Also read: Arc de Triomphe rampage: Hundreds of thousands of euros in damage
The pillars of the monument are covered with anti-Emmanuel Macron tags or messages like “yellow vests will triumph”.
Result: one million euros in damage and five damaged works of art. The head of state went there the next day.
The pictures of the “taking” of the Arc de Triomphe, which caused a sensation and went around the world, were to be shown in court.
More than 400 people were arrested in Paris that day, a record at the time. But if investigators estimated the Arc de Triomphe’s dismissal was the fact of a “large number of people”, they will only be ten in court on Monday. Prosecutors admitted: “It is clear that the instigators, even the main perpetrators of the facts, could not be identified.”
“It is the trial against the small fish, the big fish are not there,” summarizes Véronique Massi, lawyer for one of the defendants. His then 26-year-old client claims, like many others, that he only “fled” to the memorial when the police brought charges.
They are particularly judged on exacerbated damage and burglary. For trying to break open a door with a fire extinguisher, damage a statue, or even steal nearly 300 postcards.
Noémie Saidi-Cottier is defending two young people who had been in custody for a few weeks. “We feel that they are paying for the others, for everything that happened, that we must be absolutely guilty,” she said.
“Pleased” the emotion, she hopes that “the judges know how to do the part of things and see who they are facing”.
“We have civil servants,” even if “they are not the most important,” emphasizes Jean-Philippe Morel, lawyer for the Society for the Looting of Archaeological and Historical Heritage, civil party.
The process, slated for Friday, will be “particularly symbolic,” he said. “It was totally surreal”, “dramatic for the image of France”, adds Jean-Philippe Morel, sure that these “insurgent” scenes are among those that “we will remember”.
Seven other people are later tried: a minor in the juvenile court and six in the police court for the sole offense of “unauthorized entry into a place classified or registered as a historical heritage”.